Category Archives: Family Stories

In Memory – Katie Burns (1999-2016)

In Memory – Katie Burns (1999-2016)

Katie - March 26, 2016
Katie – March 26, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016 at about 2:50 pm we lost our sweet girl Katie.  We had noticed that she had lost quite a bit of weight and when we took her to the Vet, she was diagnosed with an over active Thyroid Gland. She was not able to keep her food down and despite the Thyroid Medication continued to lose weight. There may have been something else wrong with her, but because of her age, we chose not to put her through any additional tests.

We lost Katie only 5 1/2 weeks after losing Stanley.

Johns Christmas Gift - December 25, 1999
Johns Christmas Gift – December 25, 1999

Katie was a gift to John from Toni for Christmas in 1999. Toni got Katie from one of my friends and co-worker, Marla Duffield and her husband Brian. Marla’s neighbor had found Katie on the side of the road with two breaks in her tail, poor baby. Marla and Brian had an older cat that didn’t tolerate the kitten, so they needed to find a new home for her. She was about six months old when we got her. The neighbor girls had named her ‘Pepper’ but we decided to rename her ‘Katie’.

Katie, a long haired black and white cat with short legs, was a surprise for John.  Christmas morning, Toni and I planted clues around the house, so John had to do a ‘scavenger hunt’ to find his gift. Once he found Katie, he put her down to explore, but being the ‘scaredy cat’ that we later found she was, she hid under the bed for several hours. Katie would always hide when someone new came to our home. If the doorbell rang, she would get even lower than her little short legs were already, and run to hide.

Phyllis (Fread) spent that Christmas with us. Several hours after hiding under the bed upstairs, Phyllis was in the living room reading, when Katie decided to come down and explore.  She approached Phyllis and got her first taste of lovins in our home.

Katie December 26, 1999
Katie December 26, 1999

Because she had such short legs, she couldn’t jump very high and it kept her close to the ground. She was able to jump up onto the couch and low chairs, but no counter tops for Katie. We bought a kitty stairs so she could get up onto our bed and cuddle with us at night. She would do this every night, but didn’t stay for long, preferring her own kitty bed or chair we have by our bed to sleep in.

Katie was not a ‘people’ cat like Stanley. She preferred being alone in her ‘safe place’ whenever we had company. She would come out and visit with us every day, but spent much of her sleep and rest time in her safe place.  But she would always join Stanley in the kitchen when they heard (or smelled) the treats come out (or the word “treat”) or when John opened a can of tuna fish.

Katie moved with us from Milwaukie, Oregon to Colorado.  On the way to Colorado, we stopped over to have lunch with Johns brother Bill and his wife Linda.  When we got into the house, John said to leave Katie in her crate. While he went to the bathroom, I decided she needed to get out and stretch. Well, John was right and I was wrong.  Katie hid unkatie-26Dec1999der their hutch and it took us quite a bit of time and furniture moving, to get Katie out. Obviously, John is the cat expert in our house.

When in Colorado, Toni and Pat decided Katie needed companionship and that is when we brought Stanley home. (See his story here).

Both Katie and Stanley moved with us from Colorado to Nevada and then to North Carolina. So they were well traveled cats, although I have to admit that neither of the cats enjoyed the road trips.

Stanley and Katie - About 2004
Stanley and Katie – About 2004

Katie was a hot kitty (where Stanley was a cold Kitty). Being a long hair, she preferred cooler temperatures. She would spend the cooler hours outside on our screened in Porch, where Stanley was a sun lover and preferred a warm lap and warmer temps.

Each morning I would have fried eggs for breakfast. I would leave some egg yoke on the plate and Katie would lick up the leftovers.

We had Katie for over 16 wonderful years and she wa_katie3ould have turned seventeen this summer.  We already miss our Katie and will never forget her.  She was our sweet girl.

Pat Burns. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.

William J Doerr and Marie Catherine Untereiner

William J Doerr and Marie Catherine Untereiner

William J DoerrWilliam J Doerr, also called Bill, was born at the home farm in Military Township, Section 18 on 9 Dec 1855 to William Henry Doerr (born Wilhelm Henry Dörr) and Anna Drufner.1

We always pronounced our surname Doerr as Door. In talking to a cousin, Wilma (Doerr) Gardner, from Iowa, she said they pronounced it Deer. It’s interesting how spelling and pronunciations change throughout the different generations and lines as they move to different areas.

William was raised on the family farm and learned the farming trade from his father. The best description of him and his activities can be found in the volume Past and Present of Winneshiek County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, By Edwin C Bailey, published in 1913.2 The following is the section regarding William Doerr:

“William Doerr

Many of the finest farms in Winneshiek county at the present time are owned and operated by the sons of the pioneers in this part of Iowa, who in their development and further improvement of the old family homesteads are ably carrying forward the work begun by their fathers in early times. To this class belongs William Doerr who is carrying on general farming and stock-raising on a fine property of one hundred and eighty acres on section 18, Military township, constituting the farm upon which he was born and reared.

His birth occurred on the 9th of December, 1855, his parents being William and Annie (Drufner) Doerr, natives of Germany. The father came to America when he was about eighteen years of age and settled in Pennsylvania, where he remained seven or eight years before removing to Winneshiek county, Iowa, where he purchased land. His entire active life was devoted to agricultural pursuits and he gradually attained a position of prominence and importance in farming circles of Military township where he made his home until his death on the 17th of September, 1886. As a progressive and public-spirited citizen he took an active part in local affairs and held various important official positions including that of school director. His wife survived him some time, dying in 1909. To them were born ten children: Helen, the wife of Joseph Emil of Calmar, Iowa; Elizabeth and Mary, deceased; William of this review; Annie, Caroline, Julia and Rosalie, who have passed away; Catherine, a nun in a convent at La Crosse, Wisconsin; and a daughter who died in infancy.

William Doerr was reared upon the family homestead in Military township and from his childhood assisted with the work of its cultivation, becoming at an early age thoroughly familiar with the best methods of cultivating the fields and caring for the stock and grain. When he was twenty-two years of age he rented the property from his father and cultivated it for three years, after which he purchased one hundred and twenty acres on section 33, Military township, and turned his attention to its development and improvement. At the end of five years he disposed of this property and bought the old homestead of one hundred and eighty acres, which he still owns. He engages in general farming and stock-raising and has been very successful, prosperity steadily attending his practical and well directed labors.

On the 13th of November, 1877, Mr. Doerr was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Untereiner, a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Bouillon) Untereiner, natives of France. They came to America in 1852 and settled in Winneshiek county, Iowa, where at first the father followed the blacksmith’s trade, engaging later in farming in Washington township. Mr. and Mrs. Doerr have become the parents of nine children: William, deceased; Julia, the wife of Bernard Einck; Theodore, who resides in Winneshiek county; Catherine, the wife of Antone Einck of Charles City, Iowa; Joseph, who lives at home; Helen and John, who are also at home; Clemence, deceased; and Wilhelmina, at home.

The family are members of the Roman Catholic church, and politically Mr. Doerr gives his allegiance to the democratic party. The cause of education finds in him a stanch supporter and an ardent champion and for twenty years he has been a member of the school board, accomplishing during that time a great deal of constructive and capable work. Fraternally he is connected with the Order of Foresters but beyond this has no affiliations of this character. He prefers rather to concentrate his attention upon the development of his farm, and his business interests are all capably conducted, bringing him a gratifying measure of prosperity.”

MilitaryTownshipSection18-1886-1915-1930Although the article about William says he purchased the home farm, I believe that he purchased only a portion of the farm and his sister, Helena Doerr and her husband Joseph Imoehl purchased another portion. The 1886 Platt Maps for Military Township, section 18 show Joseph Imohl [Imoehl] owning 119 Acres and William Doerr owning 181.5 acres. 1886 was the year that their father Wilhelm died and they would have purchased the property sometime prior to that for it to show up on the 1886 Plat maps. It makes sense that the property was all once owned by their father. That would mean that William Sr (Wilhelm) acquired about 300 acres when he settled in Military Township.

As stated in the above article, William married Marie Catherine Untereiner on 13 Nov 1877 in Festina, Iowa. 3 4 Catherine, also called Katie, was the daughter of Jacques “Jacob” Untereiner and Elisabeth Bouillon, both natives of LaPetite, Peirre, France. Catherine would have grown up on her family farm in Auburn Township, Fayette County, just SW of Military Township. J Untereiner owned about 70 acres of land in section 3 according to the 1879 Platt map.

WmDoerr-OssianBeeOssian, Iowa was the closest town to their home farm and we know that William subscribed to the Ossian Bee for himself and several others based on a newspaper clipping.5

CatherineDoerrCatherine was a farmwife and mother, busy raising her children. I imagine her life as a farm wife was full of hard work. I also believe she was active in the church and community. She was a member of St. Francis parish and of the Mother Society.6

Sometime later in life, William lost his right eye in an accident in the barn. Apparently a pole fell while he was working with a couple of horses. He was fitted with a glass eye, which can be seen in later photos of him.

CatherineWilliamDoerrAlthough too young to participate in the Civil War and into his sixties by World War I, William was appointed by The Iowa State Governor, W. L. Harding, an official representative of the State and Federal Governments for Winneshiek County. He was delegated to serve in all food production activities necessary to the successful prosecution of the war by the United States Government and its Allies for Winneshiek County, certificate dated 31 August 1918.7


William and Catherine Doerr 50th Wedding Anniversary Taken at farm of John Moellers November 13, 1927
William and Catherine Doerr 50th Wedding Anniversary
Taken at farm of John Moellers
November 13, 1927

On 13 Nov 1927, William and Catherine celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the farm of their daughter and son-in-law, John and Helena (Doerr) Moellers. See my About page for a listing of names in the photo.

From an article in the paper announcing his death, we learn that William attended the parochial school in Festina and from childhood assisted with the work on the farm. During the summer of 1930 he built a new home is Ossian and on Sept 9th of 1930 he and Catherine moved to town to enjoy a well-earned rest. I assume that shortly before this time, he sold the home farm to Clemen Lechtenberg, who is showing as the owner on the 1930 Platt Map. I believe Clemen was the brother of Caroline Elizabeth Lechtenberg Einck, their daughter Elizabeth’s mother-in-law.”

The article also says that “…Mr Doerr was a member of the catholic church and fraternally was connected with the Catholic Order of Foresters. For twenty years he served as a member of the rural school board and in this capacity did capable work. He was a man of modest and retiring disposition and stood high in the esteem of his fellow citizens…” 8

William died on 11 Dec 1932 at the age of 77 due to Pneumonia after a 10-day illness. Catherine died 26 Sep 1938 at the age of 78 at her home after an illness of nearly a year. They are both buried at Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery, Ossian, Iowa. There is a Doerr Family monument with 5 graves surrounding it: William, Catherine, Joseph S, Wilma and Clemens C.

I estimate the following family photo was taken about 1912-1915. Ted was not in the photo (he was living in Wesley, Iowa  by this time.)

William Doerr Family

William and Catherine Doerr Family

  1. William Jacob Doerr, born: 22 Aug 1878 and died 22 Aug 1880 on his 2nd birthday.
  2. Juliana “Julie” Emelia Mary Doerr, born 06 Nov 1881. She married Bernard “Ben” Joseph Einck on 20 Oct 1903 in Ossian, Iowa. Ben was born 21 Aug 1879 in Festina, Iowa. They must have lived in Castalia, Winneshiek County, Iowa for a time before moving to Frankville Township, Iowa, where the 1910 census shows them living. Ben is a self employed Farmer, renting their farm. His brother, Joseph Einck was living with them. Joseph was 23 years old, working as a farm laborer, most likely helping Ben and Julie on the farm. By the 1915 Iowa State Census, they were living in Bloomfield Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa. They are showing as owning 120 acres in Section 9 on the 1915 and 1930 Bloomfield Township Plat Map. The 1930 census shows them living on the farm with their five children. 

Julie died on March 22, 1935 at the age of 53. She is buried at Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery, in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa. 

The 1940 census shows Ben living on the farm with his son Jerome, now 20 and Alma Einck, their niece (Julie’s brother Joseph’s daughter), who is showing as a maid. Perhaps she is helping out around the farmhouse. Ben died August 17, 1971 at the age of 91.Julie and Ben had six children:
    1. Amanda Katherine Einck, born 11 Nov 1904 in Castalia, Iowa. She died on 13 Apr 2007 in Milford, Dickinson County, Iowa at the age of 102. Amanda married Henry “Hank” Schultz Jr. on February 23, 1925 in Ossian, Iowa. Henry died 27 Feb 1985 in Postville, Allamakee County, Iowa at the age of 83. They had three children: Geneva Marie Schultz, Arthur Henry Schultz and Lyle Henry Schultz.
    2. Arthur William Einck was born on 17 Feb 1907 in Bloomfield, Iowa and died in November 1983 in Ossian at the age of 76. Arthur married Mildred Louise Mary Witgen on 03 Dec 1935 at St. Joseph’s in Cresco, Iowa. Mildred was the daughter of William Leo and Mary Ann (Uhlenhake) Wiltgen and was born on July 24 1915 in Ossian. She died on April 19, 1996 in Ossian at the age of 80. She was buried in St. Francis de Sales Cemetery, Ossian, Iowa. They settled in Ossian, Iowa. Arthur was a Mechanic at a Farm Implement shop in 1940. They owned their own home in Ossian. They had three children: Robert Joseph Einck, Richard Bernard Einck and Mel Francis Einck.
    3. Irene Elizabeth Einck was born on 24 Jun 1910 in Castalia, Iowa. She died on 11 Sep 2007 in Aase-Haugen Nursing Home, Decorah, Iowa at the age of 97 and was buried in St. Benedict’s Cemetery. Irene married John William “Jack” Schissel on 02 Jun 1930 in St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church, Ossian. Jack was the son of Joseph John and Staphina (Funke) Schissel. He was born on 03 Feb 1906 and died on 06 May 1979 in Decorah, Iowa at the age of 73. John and Irene settled in Calmar, Winneshiek County, Iowa where they owned their own farm. They had three children: Ardith Mary Schissel, Kathleen June Schissel and John “Jack” William Schissel Jr.
    4. Frederick Einck was born in 1913. He died in infancy.
    5. Frederick Theodore Einck was born on 06 May 1916. Frederick married Irene Louise Meland on 30 May 1936 in Postville, Iowa. Irene was the daughter of Peter and Mabel (Meyer) Meland. She was born on 24 Aug 1917 in Postville, Iowa. Frederick and Irene settled in Decorah, Winneshiek County, Iowa. Frederick was a carpenter and builder. Frederick and Irene had five children: Darrel John Einck, Lawrence Einck, Lloyd Einck, Richard Einck and Julie Einck. All except Darrel died in infancy. Frederick died on 02 Aug 1943 in Decorah, Iowa at the age of 27. “He was killed by a bolt of lightning while assisting with threshing near Decorah. Mr. Einck and a group of threshers had taken shelter under the eaves of a barn during the storm when the lightning struck.” 10 He was buried in St. Francis de Sales Cemetery in Ossian, Iowa. Their son Darrel John Einck died on 13 May, 2005 in Drain, Oregon at the age of 64. He married Norine Diane Roberts, which ended in divorce. They had three children: Frederick Theodore Einck, Richard Einck and Wendy Lue Einck. Darrel served in the US Marine Corps from 1957 to 1963. He received a Good Conduct Medal from the Marine Corps. 11 Irene later married Lloyd Sloan and died on 19 Jan 2004 in Eugene, Oregon at the age of 86.
    6. Jerome Joseph Einck was born on 06 Jun 1919 in Bloomfield, Iowa. He enlisted on 17 May 1943 at Camp Dodge Herrold, stating he had attended high school for one year and was employed as an automobile serviceman. Jerome married Norma Audrey Koch, daughter of Walter and Mabel (Monson) Koch. Norma was born in 1926. They had four children: Diane Louise Einck, Linda Kay Einck, Sandra Susan Einck and Annette Marie Einck.
  3. Theodore Peter Doerr, my grandfather, was born on 31 Jan 1884 in Military Township, Iowa.Ted grew up on the home farm in Military Township, Iowa and completed school through the 8th grade. The 1900 census shows him in school at 16 years old. When he was young, most likely about 18, he traveled to South Dakota, and worked on a ranch for a couple of years. His uncle, Mathias Emile Untereiner, had settled in Cross Plains, South Dakota. Through a newspaper clipping, we know that Teds father William traveled to Parkston, South Dakota to visit Emil Untereiner and the “Untereiner Boys” in Nebraska. Perhaps this is what brought Ted to South Dakota. We also have a picture of him with another person that could be one of the Untereiner boys on a sheep farm that was sent home from South Dakota. I’m guessing the timeline to be between 1905 and 1910. The postcard is dated 1907. Ted and his brother John were very good carpenters. They worked together some, then each had their own crew. Ted would continue as a carpenter and build houses until 1942. Ted married Anna Marie Kappes on 26 Nov 1912 in Saint Lucas, Iowa. The newspaper clipping announcing their marriage states that they planned to settle in Fort Atkinson. But we find they purchased a home in Wesley, Iowa by 1915. In 1942 they move their family to San Francisco. Ted will work at the Naval shipyards where he worked during the rest of the war years. After the war, although they would live in San Francisco, he would travel to Oregon with his son, Luke, to work on construction jobs. He most likely retired in the late 1940’s and spent his time in retirment making small furniture for children. Anna worked at the San Francisco post office in San Francisco from 1942 until she retired. Anna died 01 Apr 1965 of a heart attack at their home in San Francisco at the age of 71. Ted then moved in with his son, Bill, in Sonoma, California, where he died in his sleep on 12 Apr 1968 while taking a nap at the age of 84.

  For more about this family, see my post Theodore and Anna Doerr Family.Ted and Anna had five children:
    1. Maurice Englebert Doerr born 18 Dec 1917 in Wesley, Iowa. 

Maurice joined the Navy in 1939 and was assigned to the U.S.S. Helena. It was docked in New York and on July 2, 1940, Maurice, while crossing a street in new York City, was hit by a car. He died the next day, on July 3, 1940 at the age of 22.
    2. Luke “Duke” Erwin Doerr (my dad) was born 21 Jan 1920 in Wesley, Iowa. Luke was called Erwin as a boy and Duke as an adult. His grandchildren affectionately called him Papa Duke. Duke joined the Navy in 1939 and served until 1946. He married Eleanor Alberta Mark on 25 Mar 1942 in San Francisco, California. 

Duke and Eleanor had three children: Mark Erwin Doerr, Anina Katherine “Kathy” Doerr and Patricia “Pat” Marie Doerr. Luke and Eleanor divorced about 1960 and Luke then married Margaret Stephens Noble. Duke worked in construction until about 1955 when he was unable to continue due to an injury during the war. He then sold used cars and worked at a hardware store until about 1959 when he went to Business College. After he and Margaret married, he worked for Canyon Glass in Beaverton, Oregon as a bookkeeper until he retired. During their years in Beaverton, Duke and Margaret were avid Rock Hounds and spent many weekends rock hounding with their friends. Duke set up shop in his basement with the tools to polish and cut the rocks. He made beautiful pieces out of the cut rock, including clocks, tables and lamps.Margaret worked at Dictaphone Company in Portland, Oregon. They both retired in 1985 and spent many years traveling around the country in their RV. In 1987 they sold their Beaverton home and moved to Eltopia, Washington. Duke died on 26 Mar 2009 at the age of 89 and is buried in Eltopia, Washington. Duke and Margaret were happily married for 46 years. As of this writing [Mar 2016] Margaret is 94 years old and still living on her own.
    3. William “Bill” Vincent Doerr born 20 Feb 1922 in Wesley, Iowa. Bill joined the Navy in August of 1940 and served until 16 Aug 1946. He married Marge Fink about December 1943. They moved to Sonoma, California, where Bill was a Sawman and Carpenter from 1947 until he retired. Bill and Marge divorced sometime before 1951. On 09 Mar 1951 Bill married Ruth C (Silva) Dietrich in Carson City, Nevada. They had no children, but Ruth had a son, Edward “Eddie” Vernon Dietrich by a previous marriage that Bill helped raise. Sadly, Eddie died in a car accident only six weeks after he married Carol A Fruth in 1967. Ruth was a Seamstress and power machine operator. Bill and Ruth were avid fishermen. They spent many of their weekends sleeping outdoors and fishing. Ruth died 16 Mar 2003 at the age of 78 in Sonoma, California. Bill died 05 Oct 2005 in Sonoma, California at the age of 83.
    4. LeRoy John Doerr born 03 Mar 1927 in Wesley, Iowa. 

LeRoy spent one year in the Army and then joined the Coast Guard. He spent 22 years in the Coast Guard, mostly in Hawaii, Alaska and St. Paul Island in the Pribilof Islands in Alaska. LeRoy was also an avid fisherman and outdoorsman. After LeRoy retired from the Coast Guard, he lived in the family home in San Francisco. He later moved to Clearlake, California. 

LeRoy died 28 Apr 2014 at the age of 87.
    5. Helen Ann Doerr born 24 Sep 1929 in Britt, Iowa. The only girl of five children, she was probably doted on. Sadly, Helen died at 13 months and 13 days on 07 Nov 1930 at their home in Britt. My father told me she died of “Crib Death” or what we call today Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). From what I’ve read in newspaper articles, it looks like they put her down for a nap after lunch and she never woke up.
  4. Elizabeth Mary Catherine “Katie” Doerr was born on 14 Jul 1887 in Ossian, Iowa and died on 07 apr 1961 in New Hampton, Iowa at the age of 73. Elizabeth married Anthony “Tony” John Einck, son of Bernard Heinrich “Henry” and Elisabeth (Lechtenberg) Einck. Anthony was born on February 17, 1884 in Festina, Iowa and died on December 30, 1962 in New Hampton, Iowa at the age of 78. Elizabeth and Tony had eight children:
    1. Vera Elizabeth Einck was born on 16 Mar 1914 in Charles City, Iowa and died on 10 Jan 1970 in Roseville, Iowa at the age of 55. Vera married Matthias John Schmitt. Matthias was born on 07 Jun 1910 in Marble Rock and died on 13 May 1993 in Rockford, Iowa at the age of 82. They had ten children: Margaret Katherine Schmitt, Jerome Raymond Schmitt, Donald Bernard Schmitt, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Mary Schmitt, Ellen Marie Schmitt, Arthur John Schmitt, Walter Eugene Schmitt, Barbara Ann Schmitt, Clarence Robert Schmitt and Normas Ralph Schmitt.
    2. Donald Joseph Einck was born on 19 May 1916 in Charles City and died on 03 Oct 2007 in Denver, Iowa at the age of 91. Donald married Margaret Toedt on 01 May 1948. They had three children: Leo Frederick Einck, Elizabeth L”Bet” Louise Einck and Daisy Marie Einck. Donald was employed at John Deere & Co. for over 32 years. He died from Alzheimer’s.
    3. Oril Lavina Einck was born on 13 Aug 1918 in Charles City, Iowa at the age of 88 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery. Oril married William C. Schmitt on 04 Mar 1943 in Immaculate Conception Church, Charles City, Iowa. He was the son of Nicholas “Nick” Schmitt Sr. and Mary Sinnwell. William was born on 28 Sep 1915 in Floyd Co., Iowa and died on 06 Dec 2005 in Charles City at the age of 90. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery. They had three children: Carol Ann Schmitt, Lyle William Schmitt and Marilyn K. Schmitt.
    4. Ardis Mary Einck was born in 1922. She married Robert Martin Wiltse. Robert was born in 1921. They had one son: Wayne Robert Wiltse.
    5. Ida Rose Einck was born in 1924 in Charles City, Iowa. Ida married Charles “Carl” Louis Mihm, son of Clemens W. and Margaret “Maggie” Rose (Kuennen) Mihm. Charles was born on 21 Apr 1909 in Saint Lucas, Iowa and died on 01 Nov 1979 at the age of 70. They had eight children: Donna Leila Mihm, Dennis Charles Mihm, Lorraine Kay Mihm, Jeanne Rose Mihm, Charles Allen Mihm, John Anthony Mihm, Cheri Diane Mihm and Janice Helen Mihm.
    6. Helen Ione Einck was born in 1926 in Charles City, Iowa.
    7. Wayne Anthony Einck was born on 18 May 1928 in Charles City, Iowa and died on 14 Sep 2006 in Waverly, Bremer Co., Iowa at the age of 78. Wayne married Margie Lee Renfroe. Margie was born on 01 Apr 1933 and died on 24 Nov 1978 in Youngtown, Maricopa Co., Arizona, at the age of 45. Wayne next married Leatrice Smith Peters.
    8. Dorothy Amanda Einck was born in 1930. Dorothy married Clarence William Carr. Clarence was born on 29 Sep 1920 and died on 12 Oct 1978 in Waterloo, Iowa at the age of 58. They had two children: Catherine Lee Carr and Cynthia Cleo Carr.
  5. Joseph Sylvester Doerr was born on 26 Nov 1888 in Ossian, Iowa. Joseph married Theresa M Schlichte. Theresa was born on 15 Oct 1895. His draft registration dated 17 Jul 1917 shows he was a farmer in Ossian, Iowa and was married. The 1920 census shows them living in Calmar, Winneshiek Co., Iowa as a farmer and the 1930 census shows him renting in Eden, Fayette County, Iowa. Occupation again is Farmer, General farming, working on his own account (self employed). By the 1940 census, Theresa is living in Ossian as a widow with her three children ages 4, 6 and 11. No occupation is listed for her. Joseph died on August 21, 1936 at the age of 47 and is buried at St. Francis Cemetery in Ossian, Iowa. Theresa died on March 19, 1970 at the age of 74. Joseph and Theresa had six children:
    1. Alma Mary Doerr was born 20 Nov 1918 most likely in Ossian, Iowa. Elma married Louis Alphonse Beer, son of Joseph and Caroline (Holder) Beer. He was born on October 30, 1914 in Springfield, Iowa. They were married sometime between 1940 and 1943. They had a daughter, Beverly Beer.
    2. Wilma Rose Doerr was born 27 Jan 1922. She married Harvey Young and they had three children: Kenneth J Young Sr, Phyllis Young and Ardis Elaine Young. She next married Zachery Thomas Gardner. They had one daughter: Patricia Kay Gardner. Zachery died on 28 Jan 1961 in Mower, Minnesota at the age of 61.
    3. Agnes Kathleen Doerr was born 01 Aug 1924 in Iowa and died on 07 Mar 1990 in Clear Lake, Iowa at the age of 65. She married Earl Long. They had two children: Joseph Arthur Long and Ronald Eugene Long. She next married Harold Frisbey. Harold died in Sep 1967 in Davenport, Iowa at the age of 68.
    4. Dora Lee Catherine Doerr was born 17 Jun 1927. She married Willlard Ulrich. They had a son: James LaVern Ulrich.
    5. Germain Doerr, born about 1932. Germaine married Donald Van Brocklin. They had Three children: William Donald Van Brocklin, Alan Ray Van Brocklin and Elaine Van Brocklin. In 1954, they lived in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He shows as a Driver in the City Directory.
    6. Clarence Doerr was born 18 Nov 1934 and died 03 Aug 1985 at the age of 50. He was buried in Guttenberg, Iowa. He married Judy.
  6. Helena Mary Doerr was born 06 Feb 1891 in Ossian, Iowa and died 22 Apr 1988 at the age of 97. She married John Bernard Moellers on 10 Nov 1915. John was born 18 Jul 1887 and died 16 May 1976 in Ossian, Iowa at the age of 99. He was the son of Bernard “Barney” and Mary Ann (Kleve) Moellers. John was a farmer, doing general farming. They owned a farm in Military Township, Iowa, Section 20. 

John and Helen celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on 10 Nov 1975. They had six living children, 46 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren at that time.Helen and John had nine children:
    1. Edna Catherine Moellers was born 10 Aug 1916, most likely on the home farm in Military Township, Section 20. She married Ervin Joseph Bengfort on 12 Oct 1937 at St. Francis Church in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa. Ervin was born on 14 Mar 1916 in Ossian to John Herman and Katherine M (Holthaus) Bengfort. Ervin and Edna were farmers, according to the 1940 census, they owned their own farm in Military Township. Most likely the property in Section 7 (1930 Military Township Plat map shows EJ Bengfort in Section 7, previously owned by his father John in 1915 Plat map). However, by 1957 we find them moving to the Paulsen farm in Postville, Iowa. They had six children: Darlene Mary, Elaine Catherine, John Marcellus, Betty Jean, Randy Ralph and Anita Louise. Ervin died on 11 Aug 1961 in Postville, Allamakee County, Iowa at the age of 45. His estate was auctioned off which included a variety of farm animals and equipment. Edna died on 21 May 2007 in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa at the age of 90.
    2. Wilma Mary Moellers was born 14 Mar 1919 and died on 08 Nov 1919, not yet 8 months old.
    3. John Anthony Moellers was born 27 Apr 1921. 

He was a student at Iowa State College, now Iowa State University, during much of World War II. Since he was studying to become a veterinarian, he was exempt from the draft. However, his patriotism won out and he decided to volunteer for military service. Because of his medical training he was placed in the infantry medical corps as a medic. 

His parents received word that John had been killed 03 May 1945. His death occurred after his unit had been relieved at the front lines and they ran into a sniper’s nest on the island of Okinawa during the latter states of the Pacific Theater of operations. John and other medics rushed out to tend to the wounded and he was hit in the head by a sniper’s bullet, dying instantly. On 01 May 1995, 50 years after the event, friends and family members of John Moellers conducted a family commemorative service at St. Francis de sales Church in Ossian.13
    4. Clair William Moellers was born 23 May 1924. He was brought up on the family farm and at the age of 18, on March 6 1943 he entered the US Army. He was honorably discharged on July 26, 1943.Clair married Dorothy Elizabeth Franzen on 01 Aug 1950 at St. Luke’s Catholic Church, St. Lucas, Iowa. Dorothy was born 08 Dec 1927 in Saint Lucas, Iowa to Joseph H and Johanna H (Baumler) Franzen.They had six children: David John, Joseph Clair, Gary Alvin, Mary Helen, Ruth Johanna and Daniel Lee Arthur.

Clair died 30 Mar 2002 in Fort Atkinson, Iowa at the age of 78. Dorothy died 25 May 2008 in Fort Atkinson, Iowa at the age of 80.
    5. Ralph Bernard Moellers was born 06 Jan 1927 in Ossian, Iowa. He served his country during World War II from April 1945 until November 1946. Ralph was united in marriage to Theresa Mary Bohr on August 16, 1950, at St. Francis De Sales Church in Ossian, Iowa. Theresa was born 06 Dec 1932 and was the daughter of William J and Hildegarde E (Heying) Bohr. Ralph and Theresa farmed in the West Union area for many years. He enjoyed farming, gardening and feeding hummingbirds. He was a 4th degree Knight as a member of Knights of Columbus. Ralph served on the West Union Coop Board, the Northeast Farm Business Assn. Board and Extension Council and as a 4-H Leader in Dover Township. Ralph was a member of the Holy Name Catholic Church in West Union, where he has served as a Trustee.Ralph passed away at his home in West Union on 31 Aug 2012 at the age of 85. 

Ralph and Theresa had 12 children: Yvonne Hildegard, Debra Ann Helen Moellers, Zandra Edna Moellers, Norine Delores Moellers, Jeffrey Arthur Moellers, Keven Reginald Moellers, Alisa Mary Moellers, Karen Darlene Moellers, Steven William Moellers, Jason Jerome Moellers, Tracy Joan Moellers and Holly Jean Moellers.
    6. Arthur Francis Moellers was born 05 Apr 1929 in Iowa, most likely in Military Township on the Moellers home farm. He married Mildred Genevieve Cottel. Mildred was born 03 Jan 1934. Arthur and Mildred had five children: Mayve Ann Moellers, Linda Lee Moellers, Lucas Moellers, Chris Michael Moellers and Cathleen Mary Moellers.
    7. Reginald Joseph Moellers was born 08 Feb 1932. He married Nell Ruby Moody. Nell was born 09 Mar 1935. Reginald and Nell had seven children: Judith Lynn Moellers, John Charles Moellers, Joel Patrick Moellers, Janice Marie Moellers, Jean Yvette Moellers, Jennifer Kay Moellers and James Boyce Moellers.
    8. Magdalen Dorothy Helen “Helen” Moellers was born 23 Jul 1934. She married Leo Albert Franzen on 24 Nov 1953 in Ossian, Iowa. Leo was born 25 Oct 1933 in Saint Lucas, Iowa to Michael and Clara Frances (Schmitt) Franzen. Leo died 07 Dec 2007 in West Union, Iowa at the age of 74. Helen and Leo had eleven children: Michael Leo Franzen, Magdalon Clara Franzen, Alan Albert Franzen, Amy Marcella Franzen, Brenda Ann Franzen, Frian Arthur Franzen, Bruce Reginald Franzen, Lester LaVerne Franzen, Laura Patricia Franzen, Carl Duane Franzen and Karen Magdalen Franzen.
  7. John Emil Bernard Doerr was born on August 8, 1893 in Military Township, Iowa. John married Gina Espeseth in about 1918. Gina was born in 26 Mar 1896 to Claus and Cornelia Espeseth. 

The 1920 census shows them living with his parents. By 1930 they were living in Decorah, Iowa. John was a carpenter and home builder. He worked for a time with his brother, Ted, building houses when he was younger. John died 07 Jul 1974 at the age of 80 In Decorah, Iowa. Gina died Dec 1980 in Decorah, Iowa at the age of 84. John and Gina had two daughters: Doris Gene Doerr and Arlawayne Doerr.
  8. Clemence Christian Doerr was born 15 Dec 1896. He died 18 Mar 1899 at the young age of 2.
  9. Wilhelmina “Wilma” Mary Henrietta Doerr was born 19 Jul 1900, most likely on the home farm in Military Township, Iowa. Wilma died on 29 Nov 1918 at the age of 18. She is buried at Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery, Ossian, Iowa.


Einck, Donald and Margaret, Doerr Families, Denver, Iowa, undated.

Edwin C Bailey. Past and Present of Winneshiek County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement. Decorah Genealogy Association, 1913 – Winnesheik County (Iowa), p 458-459. Digital copy at Google Books, Iowa, Marriages, 1809-1992 Transcription (; accessed 06 Mar 2015), entry for marriage of William Doerr and Katie Untereiner 13 Nov 1877, Winneschiek, Iowa, US.

“Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 May 2015), William Doerr and Katie Untereiner, 13 Nov 1877; citing Festina, Winneshiek, Iowa, United States, county courthouses,Iowa.

Ossian, Iowa, Ossian Bee newspaper clipping, date unknown.

Newspaper Clipping announcing death of Catherine Doerr– Unknown paper, but could have been the Ossian Bee. Date shortly after 26 Sep 1938.

Certificate from Governor W.L.Harding, Commonwealth of Iowa, No. 47.128, 31 Aug 1918.

Newspaper clipping– date and paper unknown. Most likely the Ossian newspaper dated shortly after 13 Dec 1932.

9  10  11 Descendants of Jacques (Jacob Untereiner, [accessed 07 May 2015]

12 Undated clipping, ca mid-1910-1930, from Ossian Bee newspaper. Privately held by Patricia (Doerr) Burns, Apex, North Carolina, 2015.

13 Randy Uhl, Newspaper clipping, paper unknown, date about April 1995.

Pat Burns. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.

In Memory – Stanley Burns (Abt 2002-2016)

In Memory – Stanley Burns (Abt 2002-2016)

10-Stanley-19Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 10:00 am we lost our buddy Stanley. About a month ago, he was diagnosed with Lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymphatic system. We observed it in his left eye and tests revealed it was also in his small intestine. We thought we’d have 3 to 4 months before we’d lose him, but the cancer was extremely aggressive and had spread into his jaw, consequently we lost him much sooner than expected.  

We adopted Stanley in the spring of 2004.  Toni and Pat had gone out to do some shopping and stopped at the Pet Smart in Lone Tree Colorado for some dog food.  While there they noticed a cat adoption event and went to look at the kittens that were available for adoption. Since we only had Katie  (our other cat) and we thought Katie Stanleywas lonesome, we had been thinking of getting her a companion. Toni and Pat thought the kittens were cute, so Toni called John to have him come down and look as well.  John declined to come down, but about 20 minutes later Toni called again and told John “how can you say no when you haven’t even seen the kittens?”.  Toni was right, and John being the cat lover he is set off for the Pet Smart.  Once there John looked at the kittens but was immediately drawn to an adult cat in a cage above the kittens. That adult cat was named Stanley.  We opened the door to the cage, and Stanley immediately climbed into John’s arms, putting his paws around John’s neck and the deal was sealed. Stanley had found a new home. The adoption card said Stanley was 3 years old, but we believe he was about 2 then, so would have been about 14 years old this year.  

Stanley and Katie
Stanley and Katie

Stanley was usually hanging around with his people. He followed us around like a puppy dog. When John would be working outside it was common for Stanley to watch and follow him from window to window sometimes fighting through the blinds just to stay within eyeshot of John.  He was our curious and in many respects fearless cat (Katie on the other hand is a scaredy cat). We could always tell when something surprised or scared Stanley. His tail would poof out like a bottle brush.  Funny. He showed his affection with a head butt or a cold nose to your nose.

16-Stanley-25In Colorado our house had a glass-block shower that stair stepped up allowing Stanley to climb up on top the shower and watch whom ever was showering, most often John.  Many times, Stanley would start edging his way down into the shower with a look in his eye that said “I want some lovins”.  John found that if he extended his hand Stanley would rub his head against it.  Since his hand was wet, Stanley’s face would soon become soaked.   We eventually came to refer to this as Stanley getting a face wash.  It became a routine shower event every morning. StanleyStanley had what John called “Operating Modes”. Most often Stanley operated in “Cold Kitty Mode”. Stanley did not have a thick fur coat, so particularly in the winter, if you sat in a chair, Stanley would hop into your lap and nestle his way in between your legs and settle in. You knew he was there for the long term if he went into “Cleaning Mode”, where he would groom himself. He would lie between your legs for hours. The next mode is “Love Mode”. There would be times, like in the shower for the face wash, where his eyes would glaze over and he would be in your face (literally) wanting lovins. The last mode, which is kind of an extension of “Love Mode” is “Peacemaker Mode”. Occasionally John and Pat would get into animated discussions usually about business issues and our voices would become raised. In those cases Stanley would get in the face of one of us purring loudly. This would always make us laugh, disrupt our discussion and make the peace.


Stanley also had a pen fetish.  If you were writing anything he would want to play with the pen like it was a toy.  A pen left on a desk would soon be on the floor.  If we had someone come by who was writing something up, their writing instrument would soon become an object to be played with.  We would often say “knock it off!” to get him to stop.  Stanley would look and seemingly say OK! as the pen hit the floor.

StanleyHe would ride around on John’s shoulders. When John would come down stairs he would stop at the top of the stairs and Stanley would hop onto his shoulders from the stair wall and ride down. On nice days he would lay out on our screened in porch and soak up the sun and watch the birds.He slept with us almost every night, usually between Pats legs in the winter when it was cold and at the bottom of the bed when it was warmer. He would sometimes lay on top of one of us and sleep.  

04-Stanley-12Stanley (and Katie) would beg. Whenever we were in the kitchen, he’d jump onto the counter (We know, bad habit, but he was spoiled) and watch us prepare food, waiting for a handout. He loved tomatoes, grapes and ice cream. A carton of grape tomatoes left on the counter would often be nudged, butted or knocked to the floor to release their treasure. Over the last couple of months we started giving them soft food and senior cat food, but he still ate some of his crunchy food. 

02-Stanley-9Stanley had a great personality. He greeted all our guests like family and didn’t discriminate. We’d often find him spending the night in our guests bed. He was a lap kitty. He would spend hours on our laps.  He was a cold kitty, so he loved the warmth. If there was a sunny spot, he would find it. He was a jumper and when young we would find him on top of the kitchen cabinets. As he aged, his jumper didn’t work as well, as the vet thought he had arthritis.

He endeared himself to most, even dog people. On more than one occasion we had people say they would like to take him home, and these were the dog people. Kelly, called him a Cool Dude. He had a great personality and he will be missed.  

StanleyStanley loved so much and asked for so little.  He was always around, always with you. There were often times when we would be sitting on the couch watching TV and suddenly you would realize Stanley had come and settled in between your legs or onto your lap quietly. “When did you get here?”, we would ask and Stanley would just look back lovingly. When not on a lap, you may find him sleeping on the back of the couch or in his bed in the office. If we were up and about, he’d find a place close by to lay and watch…usually Stanleyon something, like a grocery bag, a laptop bag, or whatever was available. If we got the suitcases out, you find him on (or in) the suitcase (both cats knew suitcases were bad news).  

Every morning he would watch John leave for work from his bed in the office or from the hallway and then be there to greet John at the door when he got home in the evening seeming to ask how was your day? and is there anything I can do for you? John always thought “nothing, you are already doing it”.

Our sweet buddy and tabby, we miss and love you. You will always and forever have a place in our hearts.  RIP

Mom and Dad

Stanley frequently showed up in a family pictures (Katie was probably hiding under the bed):
Family Photo

Theodore and Anna Doerr Family

Theodore and Anna Doerr Family


Theodore Peter Doerr and Anna Marie Kappes, married November 26, 1912
Theodore Peter Doerr and Anna Marie Kappes, married November 26, 1912

My paternal grandparents, Theodore and Anna Doerr, were married November 26, 1912 in Saint Lucas, Fayette County, Iowa.

Grandfather Theodore Peter Doerr, also called “Ted” or “TP”, was born January 31, 1884 in Military Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa, and grew up on the home farm, in Section 18.1  When he was in his early 20’s, he traveled to South Dakota and had an adventure as a cowboy for a couple of years. After returning to Iowa he partnered with his brother John on Construction Jobs, building houses. He eventually took on his own crew. He worked ‘on his own account’ in the construction business until 1942. Ted was 28 when he married Anna. Ted and Anna moved to Fort Atkinson, Iowa after right after their marriage, and moved to Wesley, Kossuth County, Iowa by 1915. Ted and Anna owned a home, just south of the Catholic Parochial School, in Wesley until about 1928 when they moved to Britt, Hancock County Iowa, where they appear to have rented until they moved back to Wesley in 1942 for a short time. They rented out their home in Wesley during the years they lived in Britt.

The Doerr Family before LeRoy was born. From Left: Anna, Maurice, Luke, Ted and baby Bill. Wesley, Iowa.
The Doerr Family before LeRoy was born. From Left: Anna, Maurice, Luke, Ted and baby Bill. Wesley, Iowa.

Grandmother, Anna Marie Kappes was born December 3rd, 1893 in Saint Lucas, Fayette County, Iowa 2 3 in Auburn Township. Her family farm was in Section 3. She had seven siblings she grew up with. See their story on my post about the Vincent and Mary Kappes Kids.  Anna was eleven years old when her mother died, leaving her father to raise the seven children. Her sister, Mary was 17 years old at the time and most likely took over the household duties. Anna was 18 when she married Ted. She was seven months into her first pregnancy when her father died on October 20, 1917 in Saint Lucas, Iowa. She most likely was not able to attend his funeral, since traveling conditions in those days were not easy. A year later, she would lose her sister Mary, who died in May 1918. In early 1940’s Anna was very involved with the Navy Mothers club and helps establish the Maurice E. Doerr Navy Mothers Club. She was quite active in the club and is elected commander in April 1941.  In June 1941 she travels to the Navy Mothers convention in Omaha, Nebraska.

Clipping dated 23 Jun 1942. They traveled to San Francisco, though, not San Diego.
Clipping dated 23 Jun 1942. They traveled to San Francisco, though, not San Diego.

In June 1942, Ted and Anna, along with their youngest son, LeRoy, moved to San Francisco, where two of their boys were stationed. Ted worked at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard during the rest of the war. After the war he worked with his son Luke and Anna’s brother Vincent “Kaps” Kappes in Construction in Oregon for a few years. After retirement he made small furniture for children. Anna worked for the post office in San Francisco. On April 1, 1965, at the age of 71, Anna died of a heart attack. Sometime after Anna died, Ted moved to Sonoma, California and lived with his son Bill until his death on April 12, 1968 at the age of 84. He laid down to take a nap and never woke up.

Theodore and Anna Doerr Kids

Bill, Ted, Anna, Duke, LeRoy July 1963
Bill, Ted, Anna, Duke, LeRoy
July 1963

I only have a few memories of Uncle Bill and Uncle LeRoy. The few memories I have of my uncles is of them sitting around the table drinking beer, laughing and telling stories. Their stories were funny and full of a lot of ‘bull’ and usually a bit off color.   🙂

Maurice Englebert Doerr

Maurice Englebert Doerr was born December 18, 1917 In Wesley, Kossuth County, Iowa. Maurice attended Catholic Parochial School in Wesley, Iowa through the 4th or 5th grade. He attended public schools after moving to Britt, Iowa about 1928 and graduated from Britt High School in the class of 1937.

He and his brothers helped his father in the construction business and doing odd jobs around town, including digging graves at the local cemetery. On October 4, 1939, he enlisted in the Navy. About February 1940 he was assigned to the USS Helena, the same ship his brother Luke, was assigned. In July, 1940 the ship was docked in New York. He left the ship on July 2, 1940 for a night on the town. Sometime during the evening, he was hit by a car while crossing a street in New York City. He died in the hospital the next day, July 3, 1940 at 22 years old. The following is from his brother Luke’s journal:

Clipping dated 9 Jul 1940.
Clipping dated 9 Jul 1940.

“…I got a phone call from a fellow who had witnessed the accident. He wanted to see me. I had no trouble getting off the ship so I met the fellow at the scene of the accident, Seventy second and Central Park West. Most of the witnesses were there. I got a lot of information.

About two dozen or more people had gathered at the site. Some were waiting for the bus that stopped there. The others waited for the green light as they were about to cross the street to the subway stop.

The bus stopped with its front bumper only a few inches from the crosswalk. The light turned green. There was no doubt about that.

Two people were approaching the bus door. The crowd began to move to cross the street. Maurice and a soldier started to cross the street. The car had to have been traveling very fast. Maurice may have stopped to double check for traffic by peeking around the bus. At any rate, the right windshield post of the speeding car struck Maurice at the left side of his skull toward the front. The impact knocked him about forty two feet. He knocked the soldier that had been to his right about half that far. The vehicle continued on almost a quarter mile before it started to slow to a stop. The soldier was severely injured, but he recovered, to what extent I don’t know, but I understand that he returned to duty. He did correspond with my parents for a long time…”

His brother, Luke was with him when he died and accompanied the body home to be buried in Britt.

Maurice Doerr coming home
Maurice Doerr coming home
Luke Erwin Doerr About 1940
Luke Erwin Doerr
About 1940

Luke Erwin Doerr (my father)

Luke Erwin Doerr was born on January 21, 1920 in Wesley, Kossuth County, Iowa. He was called Erwin as a young boy and Duke as an adult. Affectionately called Papa Duke by his grandchildren. He attended the first few years of school at the Catholic Parochial School in Wesley. After moving to Britt, about 1928, he attended public school.  He dropped out of school after the 10th grade. He helped his father on construction jobs and did other odd jobs around town, including digging graves at the local cemetery.

…Jobs were scarce. In school, Grades nine and ten had bored me to tears. My grades, for some reason, were mostly “incompletes”. It is quite possible that making it to school only two or three days a week might have contributed to this situation. So I sort of “quituated”. I did get an occasional short-time job, mostly doing hard work, so much so that I was tempted to go back to school. That temptation didn’t last long. I also did a bit of traveling, hitch-hiking, or by freight train. That wasn’t as good as it sounds.

One day I decided to fix an antique pistol that wouldn’t shoot. This was for someone else, for free. I didn’t get it fixed, but I did find out the problem. Suddenly, as I closed the weapon, I heard a loud noise, the inside of my left hand turned black. The back of my hand oozed out a bit of gore. That .22 bullet had gone through my hand but it missed the bones. That was my third such embarrassing and stupid accident. It was winter, so my minor injury wouldn’t interfere with any job that I might not land anyway.

In January of 1939, I turned nineteen, and I had made a decision.

I slogged through about four inches of snow. It was colder than a Nun’s nipple, but it wasn’t far to the highway. I caught a ride to Mason City. That is where the nearest Navy recruiting office is…”

Duke’s Navy Years
Luke E Doerr as the "Guidon", person carrying the flag. 1939
Luke E Doerr as the “Guidon”, person carrying the flag.1939

He joined the Navy on June 7, 1939 and traveled to Des Moines, Iowa for his physical. He spent Boot Camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Station near Chicago and was the “Guidon”, the person carrying the flag. During Boot Camp the big sporting event was the boat races once a week. He joined the light boat crew and practiced by rowing Whaleboats, but they raced in cutters. They broke several records and won most of the races.

1939-1941 USS Helena
On September 18, 1939 he traveled to Brooklyn Navy Yard where he was assigned to a brand new Cruiser, the USS Helena as a signalman striker. They departed from the Navy Yard for her sea trials and shakedown cruise. They stopped at the following ports: Annapolis; Norfolk; Guantanamo Bay and Cuba. They cross the equator on January 13, 1940 where Duke becomes a “Shellback”. They visited Buenos Aires; Argentina; Montevideo; Uruguay (site of the wreck of Admiral Graf Spee); and Santos Brazil. They begin their return on February 10th and stop in Guantanamo Bay, Norfolk and arrive at the Navy Yard in New York on March 2, 1940.

The following is from Dukes Journal:

“… In the Navy, a sailor becomes a Shellback when he crosses the Equator, until then, I seem to remember that he is a pollywog or something similar. We were supposed to be at peace with the world, so we had time to do it right. A big celebration was planned for this rather important occasion. One of the portly crew members was elevated to the position of King Neptune. The royal barber whacked off my hair with one clip close to the skin and in front. I had to crawl through a canvas tube about two feet in diameter through about a four-inch layer of garbage. Those of us who disclosed our location by bumping the top of the tube got a sharp rap with a shillelagh (pronounced ‘shil lay lee’). This wicked weapon is a canvas tube about two inches in diameter about four feet long and filled with wet sand packed tight…”

In late 1940 the USS Helena is sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Duke spends about 13 months sailing around Pearl Harbor. Mostly on the USS Helena, but he is also on other ships during those months in Hawaii.

November 1941 – August 1942 Treasure Island Naval Base
In November 1941, he was assigned to Treasure Island Naval Base in San Francisco, California on the gun inspection crew and spent some time on merchant ships inspecting their guns. He was in the hospital with Catarrh fever (flu-like symptons), when Pearl Harbor was hit.

The USS Helena was moored at 1010 Dock Navy Yard on the base southeast side of the harbor. By chance, Helena was in the berth normally assigned to the battleship Pennsylvania, and thus became a prime target for the Japanese planes. Reports are inconsistent that some Japanese pilots aborted their attacks on Helena after realizing she was not the USS Pennsylvania. 20 men were immediately killed. 4

August 1942 –  March  1943  SS George Chamberlain

Duke on a Camel Egypt, 1942
Duke on a Camel
Egypt, 1942

On August 23, 1942 Duke was assigned to the SS George Chamberlain. He traveled by train to Portland, Oregon where the ship was being readied to go into service. Port stops included: Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Long Beach, California; Wellington, New Zealand; Aden; and Suez, Egypt.

In Egypt they got a few liberty days and took the train to Cairo to see the sights and ride camels. They left Suez through the Red Sea and along the coast of Africa to Mombassa, Kenya. They sailed south through Mozambique Channel (between Africa and Madagascar) on Christmas Day 1942. The next ports were Cape Town, South Africa; Bahia, Brazil; Paramaribo, Suriname; Trinidad and then to Mobile, Alabama where they were transferred off the SS George Chamberlain. They were then sent to New Orleans to wait until they received orders to report back to Treasure Island Armed Guard Center. They had 30 days to get there. Duke chose to take the train. His folks and wife met him at the train station in San Francisco.

April 1943 – March 1944 SS C.P. Steinmetz
About April 1943 Duke was assigned to the SS C.P. Steinmetz and sailed to: Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville and Darwin, Australia. In Darwin they tied up to a T-shaped dock late int he afternoon. About 8:00 a.m. the next morning they were ordered to battle stations, as a fleet of 9 Japanese Bombers were coming in. Dukes gun was too small to do any good at that distance so he was more of an observer. The Australian airfield sent up their Spitfire fighter planes to discourage the incoming bombers.  Duke wrote:

“Before the Bombers got to within sight, our ship began to move. We had a sunken ship in front of us and another lying along our right side. So the ships crew had to back up the ship, then swing the rear toward the shore. The idea was to then head out into the harbor and then out to sea and test the theory that it’s more difficult to hit a moving ship with a bomb. But it was not to be. The ship moved as planned until we backed up far enough to complete the maneuver, but someone in the engine room was supposed to shift into forward. The ship kept going in reverse. When the ship hit the earthen bank it stopped, stuck in the mud.  As the Ship finally got in forward gear, it tended to stay stuck in the mud. So the ship stayed stuck and we spent the entire air raid as a sitting duck. But, on the plus side, the two gun crews on the bow had one hell of a solid gun platform.”

After the raid was over, the nine bombers got away. The ship unloaded their cargo and they left the next day. When arriving back at Sydney, they were notified that a couple of hours after they got out, Japanese bombers returned. This time they blew the T-dock up at Darwin.

After leaving Sydney, stops included: Brisbane, Port Moresby, New Guinea and Cape York, Australia.

March 1944 – 1945 Treasure Island Naval Base

Duke with his dad's '39 Chevy Pickup About 1942
Duke with his dad’s ’39 Chevy Pickup About 1942

They returned to Treasure Island on March 10, 1944. Duke was assigned to the gunnery school as an instructor for 3 months. Liberty was good and he worked from eight a.m. to four-thirty p.m. with an hour off for lunch. He lived in the school in a room of his own and went home three evenings out of four (He and his wife, Eleanor, had rented half of a house). His mother and father both traveled by bus and/or streetcar, so Duke used his dad’s old ’39 Chevy Pickup. What should have only been a 3-month assignment turned into 15 months. Eventually he did end up on the “sea list”.

1945 – July 1945  SS Fort Dearborn
Early 1945 he was assigned to the SS Fort Dearborn and spent time sailing between Guam, Panama and Ulithi. They were on their way back to Panama in July when the announcement came that the war was over and they returned to San Francisco.

In August 1945 he was assigned to the Carpenter Shop and became carpenters mate. After returning from a 60-day leave, he spent most of the rest of the time in the service doing odd jobs.

August 1945 – June 1946 Treasure Island Naval Base
In August 1945 he was assigned to the Carpenter Shop and became carpenters mate. After returning from a 60-day leave, he spent most of the rest of the time in the service doing odd jobs.

He received his discharge papers on June 9, 1946, his sons first birthday.
Duke and Eleanor About 1943
Duke and Eleanor About 1943

Duke married Eleanor Alberta (Marks) Rodgers on March 25, 1942 in San Francisco, California. She was born on January 27, 1908. They had three children: Mark Erwin Doerr, Anina Kathryn “Kathy” Doerr and Patricia Marie Doerr.

After leaving the Navy, Duke worked on construction jobs with his dad and his Uncle Vincent “Kaps” Kappes in Oregon. They lived in Astoria for a time before moving to Kennewick, Washington in 1948 to work at Hanford. In the early 1950’s he worked on McNary Dam until about 1953.

He was as a used car salesman from about 1953 to 1955. In December 1954 he purchased the house at 115 N. Irby Street, Kennewick, Washington. (This is what I remember as being my childhood home). From about 1955 to 1959 he worked at Prudhomme’s Hardware Store on Avenue C in Kennewick, just down from the bridge. In 1959 he went to the community college in Pasco taking Bookkeeping and Accounting courses.

Duke and Eleanor divorced sometime between 1959 and 1962.  Eleanor died on July 20, 1979 in McCall, Idaho at the age of 72.  She is buried in Riggins, Idaho, where she made her home the last several years of her life.

In the fall of 1959 Duke took classes at the Business school in downtown Kennewick near the old Benton Theater, which is where he met Margaret Noble. Margaret has two daughters, Sharon and Janet who both married in the early 1960’s and now have large families.

Margaret and Duke January 19, 1963
Margaret and Duke
January 19, 1963

Duke moved to Beaverton, Oregon in the fall of 1962, where he worked for Canyon Glass in Beaverton. He stayed in a rooming house with a friend. He and Margaret married on January 19, 1963 in Eltopia, Washington. Margaret worked at Welch’s Grapes in Kennewick in their main office while they were engaged and after they were married until she joined him in Beaverton in June 1963. They rented a house in Beaverton early 1963 and Duke spent his time cleaning it up before Margaret moved in with him in June. They purchased the house a couple of years later.

Duke and Margaret were Rock Hounds. They spent many weekends rock hounding with their friends. Duke set up shop in his basement with the tools to polish and cut the rocks. He made beautiful pieces out of the cut rock, including clocks, tables and lamps. Duke worked for Canyon Glass for most of the years they were in Beaverton. Margaret worked for Dictaphone Company in Portland, Oregon.

Ruth, Duke, Margaret and Bill at Lake Cushman.
Ruth, Duke, Margaret and Bill at Lake Cushman.

They both retired in 1985 and spent many years traveling around the country in their RV. In 1987 they sold their Beaverton home and moved to Eltopia, Washington. During their travels, they visited all of the states west of the Mississippi except North Dakota. East of the Mississippi they traveled to Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. They visited all of the National Parks in the western states.

By about 2002 Duke could no longer drive, so they parked their RV and Margaret did the driving by car. In about 2002 she drove to Iowa to visit Dukes family and from there drove south to Texas to visit with her daughters family.

Duke died on March 26, 2009 at the age of 89 in Pasco, Washington and is buried in Eltopia, Washington. Duke and Margaret were happily married for 46 years. As of this writing [May, 2015] Margaret is 92 years old and still living on her own. She spends her time sewing. Due to poor eye sight, she no longer drives, but is sharp as a tack and keeps up on the activities of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

Bill Doerr About 1937
Bill Doerr
About 1937

William “Bill” Vincent Doerr

William Vincent Doerr was born on February 20, 1922 in Wesley, Kossuth County, Iowa. He attended public schools in Britt, as the family moved there about 1928. The 1940 census shows the highest grade completed was 7th grade. He was listed as an unpaid worker, most likely helping his father in the construction business. In August of 1940 he joined the Navy 8.

Bill’s War Years

1941 to 1942 – Battleship USS Idaho.5
Bill served on the Battleship USS Idaho between 1941 and 1942. The ship sailed for Hampton Roads on 6 June 1941 to perform Atlantic neutrality patrol. She moved to Iceland in September 1941 to protect American advance bases and was on station at Hvalfjörður when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Idaho departed Iceland two days after Pearl Harbor to join the Pacific Fleet, and arrived at San Francisco, California, via Norfolk, Virginia, and the Panama Canal on January 31, 1942.5

1942-1944 – San Francisco California(?): I am speculating that Bill was assigned to Treasure Island sometime during this period based on the dates recorded of the ships as described. The information about which ships he was on, is listed in our family history book.I also know from a newspaper clipping, that Ted and Anna drove to California to see their two sons, William and Erwin in July 1942 (the clipping says San Diego, but it would have been San Francisco). He was also present as a witness when Duke and Eleanor married in March 1942 in San Francisco.

1944-1945 – USS Flint Light Cruiser. 6
Bill served on the USS Flint from 1944–1945. Flint reported to the 3rd Fleet for duty at Ulithi on December 27, 1944, and six days later, sailed  in support of the invasion of Luzon. She screened aircraft carriers as they launched strikes on Luzon, Taiwan, and the China coast, and fired protective anti-aircraft cover during a Japanese kamikaze attack on January 21, 1945. Replenishing at Ulithi from January 26 to 10 February 10, 1945, Flint then sailed for air strikes on Tokyo preceding the attack on Iwo Jima. Her force arrived off Iwo Jima on February 21, 1945 to provide anti-aircraft cover for the Marines who had landed two days previously, and Flint returned to Ulithi March 12, 1945 for a brief 2 days of replenishment. Putting to sea with TF 58 (The Fast Carrier Task Force) for strikes against Kyūshū in preparation for the invasion of Okinawa, Flint aided in bringing down several airplanes in heavy attacks on the task force from March 18-22, 1945. The task force then closed Okinawa, and Flint with other cruisers bombarded beach installations in preparation for the landings on April 1, 1945. Aside from the period of May 14-24, when she was at Ulithi for upkeep, Flint operated off Okinawa until June 13, 1945, when she anchored in Leyte Gulf. Flint sortied from Leyte on July 1, 1945 to screen the final air attacks on the Japanese home islands and to join the bombardment of the east coast of Honshū until the cessation of hostilities. On August 24, 1945, she took station off Nii Shima to serve as rescue ship and homing station for transport planes carrying occupation troops to Japan. From September 10-15, 1945, she lay in Tokyo Bay, then sailed with a carrier task force to provide air and sea surveillance of Central Honshū until 21 September, 1945. 6

1945-1946 – USS Robert L Wilson destroyer.7
Bill served on the USS Robert L Willson from 1945-1946. Following shakedown in Cuban waters, Robert L. Wilson sailed from Norfolk, Virginia on 23 July 1946 for a six-month tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. 7

Bill was discharged from the Navy on August 16, 1946.

Marge and Bill Doerr
Marge and Bill Doerr

About December 1943 Bill married Marge Fink. They had a daughter, Vicky Doerr. They moved to Sonoma, California where Bill was a Sawman and Carpenter from 1947 until he retired. Bill and Marge divorced sometime before 1951.

On March 9, 1951 he married Ruth C (Silva) Dietrich in Carson City, Nevada. They had no children, but Ruth had a son, Edward “Eddie” Vernon Dietrich by a previous marriage that Bill helped raise. Sadly, Eddie died in a car accident only six weeks after he married Carol A Fruth in 1967. Ruth was a Seamstress and power machine operator.

Bill and Ruth Doerr
Bill and Ruth Doerr

Ruth died March 16, 2003 at the age of 78 in Sonoma, California. Bill died on October 5, 2005 in Sonoma,

California at the age of 83. They are both buried at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella Village, Merced County, California.

Bill’s niece (Duke’s daughter) Kathy lived with Bill and Ruth for a time after she graduated from high school.  This is when she met her husband, John Von Dohlen. They had two boys, John (Jr) and Craig. John (Sr) wrote the following story:

“Bill and Ruth had a trailer on the Napa River which they paid 1 dollar a day rent on. Almost every weekend they would go and stay in their trailer, go fishing, drink beer, shoot the bull with whoever was there, do some more fishing, drink more beer, have lunch, drink more beer, do some more fishing, kick back, drink more beer. That was just about what they did most weekends, when Bill was still working.

We would take the kids out there on a Sunday, (my one day off at that time) and do some fishing and drink some beer. Bill and Ruth liked beer a lot, we would take the kids out in the boat to fish. John liked to fish, Craig not so much. One time he [Craig] had a fish on and was so surprised that he gave Uncle Bill the pole and said “Here you reel it in, I don’t want to break the pole”. Bill gave it back and told Craig to reel it in, which he did and caught a nice keeper of stripped bass.

They spent a lot of time at the river and at Knights Landing on the Sacramento River  fishing  for sturgeon. They would back up their station wagon to the river set out their poles and wait for some time for the fish to bite. Sometimes it would go into the night. They rolled out some sleeping bags and laid down waiting for a bite. They had bells on their poles to warn them of a strike if they were sleeping. Lots of work for sturgeon, but well worth it. At that time it had to be 4 foot long at least, (sturgeon is a pre historic fish, and has prized fish eggs, as they use it for caviar, if you catch a female, with eggs.)

Ruth’s bell went off early in the morning and woke them up as they had fallen asleep that night. She jumped up, hooked a good one. After about an hour fighting the fish, Bill wanted to take over as Ruth was getting a little tired, but she told Bill to sit on it “it’s mine and I will bring it in”, which she did. It was 6 feet 6 inches, a foot taller than she was, and twice as heavy. It took about 2 hours to land. It weighed about 125 lbs. They got about 90 pounds of meat, lots of waste on sturgeon , the head alone weighs about 20 lbs. She was pretty tired after that, and she never let Uncle Bill forget it. He never caught one that big (jokingly of course. so she says).

When Bill retired they spent a lot on time at the coast as well, making new friends  along the way. They never did much traveling, although they had money to go and do things, they did not want to spend any. They did go up to Washington to visit with Lyle and Vickie [Bill’s daughter] one time and that’s when mom and dad [Bills brother Duke] went and picked them up and brought them to their house in Eltopia [Washington]. Bill never liked to be away from home for any length of time, he had neighbors to look in on the place as well as us to check on things as well.  I think the reason was Bill did not trust banks as they had five thousand  dollars stuck in a galvanized pipe under their house. Any time something would come up about banks or the stock market Bill would go bananas thinking it was going to happen to him (paranoia big time).

So many times at the river, that’s where John and Craig learned to scrounge for anything. Uncle Bill taught them that, hooks, sinkers, leader, whatever, bottles anything that looked good. I told Bill thanks a lot all he could do was have a [big] grin on his face. He also liked to play Acey Duecy (kinda like a backgammon game) with me and Ruth. We would play whenever we went to visit them at home, and drink more beer. They sure liked their beer, they did.”

 LeRoy John Doerr

LeRoy John Doerr About 1944
LeRoy John Doerr
About 1944

LeRoy John Doerr was born on March 3, 1927 In Wesley, Kossuth County, Iowa. The family moved to Britt, Iowa shortly after LeRoy was born. He spent his school years at public schools in Britt and finished 6th grade. He spent one year in the Army and then joined the Coast Guard. He spent 22 years in the Coast Guard, mostly in Hawaii, Alaska and St. Paul Island in the Pribilof Islands in Alaska. 3

The following was written by LeRoy on May 18, 1988.

“Doerr LeRoy J Z420029
550-30-0310 – Z42-0029

SS Paul Shupe – Tanker – Coastwise 42 [1942?] SS Mission Periesma – Tanker 43 [1943?] SS Cape Neddick C-1 1943 Transport Fourin
SS Cape Duglass C-1945 Transport Fourin
SS Bald Eagle C-2 1945 Reffer – Fourin
SS Battle Creak Victory 1945 & 1946 – Fourin
SS Wm Terry Howell Liberty 1946 – Fourin

Above, a list of the merchant Vessels I served on during and after WW II.

My Last Z 420029 4E & Z-Documents copy were issued 4/12/71 -They were lost [illegible] with other property in storage in 1980.
General Freeman

Signed: LeRoy J Doerr
dated: 5-18-1988″

LeRoy Doerr
LeRoy Doerr
LeRoy Doerr
LeRoy Doerr

LeRoy was an avid fisherman and outdoorsman. Going through his papers, I found many pictures of wildlife and photo’s of him with his ‘catch’.

After LeRoy retired from the Coast Guard, he lived in the family home at 142 Bosworth Street, San Francisco. He later moved to Clearlake, California. LeRoy died April 28 2014 at the age of 87.

Helen Ann Doerr, about 6 months old.
Helen Ann Doerr, about 6 months old.

Helen Ann Doerr

Helen Ann Doerr was born on September 24, 1929 in Britt, Hancock County, Iowa. The only girl of five children, she was probably doted on. Sadly, Helen died at 13 months and 13 days on November 7, 1930 at their home in Britt, Iowa. My father told me she died of “Crib Death” or what we call today Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). From what I’ve read in newspaper articles, it looks like they put her down for a nap after lunch and she never woke up.

Pat Burns. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.


Iowa, Winneshiek County. Certificate of Vital Record (Birth) #176, for Theodore Peter Doerr, 31 January, 1884.
Kuennen, Lorraine Bodensteiner. 1979. The John Carl Bodensteiner Family. St. Lucas, Iowa.
Einck, Donald and Margaret, Doerr Families, Denver, Iowa, undated.
8 Application to State of Iowa for World War II Service Compensation, Iowa, World War II Bonus Case Files,( accessed on 30 Apr 2015)  State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa.for William Vincent Doerr, Britt, Iowa.


Postcard from Duke!

My dad, Luke “Duke” Erwin Doerr, was in the Navy from 1939 – 1946. Sometime after he passed in 2009, mom gave my brother a few documents, including his birth certificate, a couple of newspaper clippings, a couple of pictures and this postcard my dad sent to his parents while in the Navy during WWII.  My brother sent me copies of them a couple of days ago (as most of you genealogists know, getting these was like waking up on Christmas morning). I just had to share the postcard he sent to his ‘folks’ dated 30 Oct 1943.

Postcard from Luke to his Parents from ship 1943
Postcard from Luke to his Parents from ship 1943


Pat Burns. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Vincent and Mary Kappes Kids

The Kappes family is the least known on my tree, since there were no stories written or passed down that I can find. Annas father, Vincent Kappes, and one of his sisters was actually born with the surname Ditzenbach (his mothers maiden name was Katherine Ditzenbach), so most likely his father Frances Joseph is not his biological father, unless he was not Catholic and the Catholic Church did not recognize their marriage. I’m still looking for the marriage record for Vincent and Katherine, which would give us another clue.

Update! Note the following as listed as a cause for emigration from Germany in the early 1800’s:

“In the early 1800s, an economic depression and over-population caused restrictions on marriages and attempts to limit growth in poor areas of the south and central Germany. Young couples in these areas often emigrated separately or together, often with illegitimate children.” 

Their Parents and Grandparents

Vincent and Mary (Bodensteiner) Kappes
Vincent and Mary (Bodensteiner) Kappes

Vincent Kappes was born Vinzenz Ditzenbach in January 1857 in Hochhausen-Tauber, Mosbach, Baden, Germany, and baptized in the Catholic Church on 22 Jan 1857. The record shows him born the same day.  His mother was Katharina Ditzenbach and her parents were Michael Ditzenbach and Gertraud Apell.  No father is listed.  His older sister, Marie Eva Kappes, was also born as Marie Eva Ditzenbach in 1854 in Germany.

Census records show Francis Joseph and Katherine (Ditzenbach) Kappes
immigrated in 1857, the same year Vincent was born. I assume they met in Germany and migrated together. Francis went by the name Joseph in most of the records after he immigrated. So far, no marriage record or immigration record for Joseph and Katherine have been found, so will add these to my “to-do” list for further research.  Joseph and Katherine first settled in Taycheedah, Fond Du Lac County, Wisconsin, where they had their next three children, Paulina Kappes, Joseph Amor Kappes and Isabella Kappes.  Sometime after 1860 and before 1863 they moved to Auburn Township, Fayette County, Iowa and settled on 144.3 acres, their ‘home farm’ in Section 3 NW and overlapping to Section 4 NE. Their two children Leonard Kappes and Julia Saloma Kappes were born in St. Lucas, Iowa. Vincent would eventually inherit or purchase the 84.3 acres in Section 3. Katherine died on 15 October 1884 at only 42 years old.

An interesting development I found this week was that Joseph remarried Margaretha Sonnet about 1891 and had another daughter, Margaret Mary Kappes on 24 Mar 1892. This may have been about the time he turned the farm over to Vincent as the family is found in the Washington Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa on State and Federal Censuses. I will be adding this to my ‘to-do’ list for additional verification. Frances Joseph Kappes died 28 Jan 1917 at the age of 88.

Mary Bodensteiner was born on 8 Aug 1867 in St. Lucas, Fayette County, Iowa. She is the daughter of John Carl and Margaretha “Maggie” (Balk) Bodensteiner, who were both born in Germany. John Carl (born Johann Karl) Bodensteiner immigrated to America in Jun 1859. I believe, but have not confirmed, that Maggie migrated at the same time. John Carl and Maggie were married a month later on 26 Jul 1859 in St. Lucas, Fayette County, Iowa. They settled in their ‘home farm’ in Section 6 SE and overlapping into Section 7 NE in Auburn Township, Fayette County, Iowa about 3 1/2 miles from the Kappes ‘home farm’.

JC Bodensteiner Section 6, 7 J Kappes Section, 3 4
JC Bodensteiner Section 6, 7
J Kappes Section, 3 4

Vincent married Mary Bodensteiner on 7 Apr 1885 in St. Lucas, Fayette County, Iowa. I imagine these two attended the same Catholic Church and grew up together in the same community. Vincent was a farmer and took over or purchased 84.3 acres of the family farm in Auburn Township, Section 3, NW NW, three miles from St. Lucas, Iowa. Vincent and Mary would have nine children. Mary died in 1904 (most likely due to complications of child birth as she died on the same day her son Gerhard Kappes was born, who only lived 15 days). Vincent was now a widower and left to raise their eight surviving children. Vincent died 20 October 1917 in St. Lucas, Fayette County, Iowa at the age of 60.

Vincent and Mary Kappes’ Kids

Top: Katie, Carl, Mary Bottom: George, Leo, Minnie, Vincent, Vincent, Anna
Top: Katie, Carl, Mary
Bottom: George, Leo, Minnie, Vincent, Vincent, Anna

Mary Kappes was the oldest at 17 at the time of her mothers death and most likely became primary caregiver and housekeeper. Born 17 Mar 1887 in St. Lucas, Fayette County, Iowa and died in May 1918 at the young age of 31, single.  Most likely keeping house for her father until his death in 1917. She is buried at Saint Lukes Catholic Cemetery, Saint Lucas, Iowa.

Katherine “Katie” Kappes was 14 when her mother died and most likely helped around the home and with the smaller children.  In the 1910 census we find her living with the Joseph Shafenbuhl family, working as a servant, keeping house at a private home.  She was 20 years old.  The Shafenbuhls lived on a farm about 1 1/2 miles south of her family farm and had four small children. The 1925 Census shows Katie living with the Louis Mihm Family and listed as cousin. (Louis was son of Mary Bodensteiners sister Margaretha). By 1930, Katie is living with her brother Carl and his wife Ottie and her other siblings, George, Leo, Vincent and Minnie.

The 1930 and 1940 census shows Katie living as an inmate at the Fayette County Home for Paupers and Insane in Westfield, Iowa. She died in West Union, Iowa on 6 Feb 1962 at the age of 71.  What happened to her after she left the “home”?  Our Family history book only shows her birth and death dates, so I have added to my ‘to-do’ list to see if I can find out more about Katie and about the “home” she spent so much time at.

Carl G Kappes was 12 when his mother died.  Some records also show him as Karl or Charles.  In 1910 he is 18  living and working on the family farm with his father and several siblings.  On 14 Jun 1914 he marries Ottie Vaughn in Wesley, Iowa.  Carl and Ottie had four children: Arthur b 15 Jun 1915 in Wesley, Iowa, Herbert b 24 Feb 1917 in Wesley, Iowa, Irene born 24 Dec 1919 in St. Lucas, Iowa and Phoebe born 28 Apr 1938 in Waucoma, Iowa.  This is interesting information because my grandmother Anna and grandfather Ted lived in Wesley, Iowa during this same time period.  Perhaps it was his fathers death in 1917 that brought them back to St Lucas, as we find Carl and Ottie living at the family farm with Carls siblings (without his children) in the 1920 census. He’s listed as a farmer.  We find the three children, Arthur, Herbert and Bernice living with Bernard Meinert, 74 and his daughter Sophia, 44 in Auburn Township.  Another “to-do” how are the Meinerts connected? This living arrangement was most likely temporary. By 1925, the Iowa State Census shows Carl, Ottie and their three children living in Waucoma, Fayette County, Iowa (224 miles SW of St. Lucas).  The 1930 census shows the family renting in Eden Township.  Carl was a Mason and Plasterer. I was unable to find him in the 1940 census. He died in Evansville, Indiana on 10 Jun 1976. Ottie dies in Evansville, Indiana in June 1986.

Anna Marie Kappes born 8 Dec 1893, is my grandmother. She was 11 years old when her mother died. She married Theodore “Ted” Peter Doerr on 26 Nov 1912 in St. Lucas, Iowa. Ted and Anna moved to Wesley, Iowa, where Ted was a carpenter and worked on construction projects. He worked on his own account. They owned their home in Wesley and had five children: Maurice Englebert Doerr born 18 Dec 1914 in Wesley, Iowa; Luke “Duke” Erwin Doerr (my father) born 21 Jan 1920 in Wesley, Iowa; William Vincent Doerr born 20 Feb 1922 in Wesley, Iowa; LeRoy John Doerr born in Wesley, Iowa and Helen Ann Doerr born 24 Sep 1929 in Britt, Iowa.

Anna was about 7 month pregnant when her father died in 1917, so she most likely did not attend his funeral service. The moved from Wesley to Britt sometime between 1927 and 1929 where Ted continued to work in construction. Newspaper articles indicate they rented out their house in Wesley for many years.

On 7 Nov 1930 their little girl, Helen, died. From what I’ve been able to determine, it was an unexpected death, possibly what we call today SIDS.  I imagine they were devastated by the loss of their little girl, who would have been just over a year old. In 1939 their son Luke entered the Navy and son, Maurice would soon follow. They were both assigned to the U.S.S. Helena and were docked in New York City in July 1940. On 2 Jul 1940 Maurice was hit by a hit and run driver while crossing a street in New York City and he died the next day at the age of 22. That must have been a difficult time for them. Anna joined the Navy Mothers organization and was quite active in that group. She would travel to conventions and became president of her local chapter.

About 1942, Ted and Anna moved to San Francisco, where their son Luke was stationed. Ted worked at the Navy Shipyards until the war ended.  Anna worked at the San Francisco Post Office. They would remain in San Francisco until Anna died on 01 Apr 1965 at the age of 71. She is buried at Saint Francis Solano Cemetery in Sonoma, California.  Ted eventually moved in with his son, William in Sonoma, California and died 12 Apr 1968 at the age of 84.

George Kappes was 9 when their mother died. He was born 29 Aug 1895 in St. Lucas, Iowa.  He is found on the 1920 census living with Theo A Scheideumtel as a Farm Laborer He married Mathilda Leibold on 3 May 1921 in Ossian, Iowa. George and Mathilda had four children. Gladys Kappes born 01 Nov 1921 in St. Lucas; Clarence Kappes was born 23 Jul 1926 in St. Paul, Minnesota; Dorothy Ann Kappes was born 30 Jul 1933 in St. Paul, Minnesota and Robert J Kappes born 29 May 1938 in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is evident that between 1921 and 1926 they moved to Minnesota. In 1930 he is listed as a Laborer, manufacturing shingles. Mathilda’s two brothers Adolph Liebold 20 and Raymond Liebold 18, are living with them. In 1940 George worked at Hamm’s Brewing Company in St. Paul, Minnesota. He died 21 Apr 1978 in St. Paul at the age of 82.

Leonard “Leo” Kappes was 7 when his mother died. He was born 7 Dec 1897 in St. Lucas, Iowa. In 1920 he was living with his brother Carl and his wife Ottie at the home farm and was 22, working as a farm laborer. He married Bertha Leibold (cousins of Mathilda?…adding to my to-do list for research) 26 Nov 1924 in Ossian, Iowa.  They had five children: Rita Kappes, born 19 Jan 1927 in Waucoma, Iowa; Zeno Kappes born 27 Jan 1930 in Ridgeway, Iowa; Neil Kappes born 21 Apr 1933 in Ridgeway, Iowa; Leonard Kappes born 16 Dec 1937 in Ridgeway, Iowa and Elain Kappes born 9 Sep 1939 in Ridgeway, Iowa. The 1930 and 1940 census shows the family living in Orleans, Iowa, listed Leo as a farmer, working on his own account and owning his own farm. (Located 4 1/2 miles west of Redgeway, according to the John Carl Bodensteiner Family Book).  He died in 1987 at the age of 90. He is buried at the Calvary Cemetery, Cresco, Iowa.

Vincent “Kaps” Kappes was 5 years old when his mother died. He was born 13 Dec 1899 at St. Lucas, Iowa. My dad used to talk about “Kaps”, which was a nickname for one of the Kappes brothers.  I believe this nickname belonged to Vincent.  The 1920 census finds Vincent living at the home farm helping as a farm laborer. Vincent married Pearl C French on 20 Jan 1923 in Decorah, Iowa. His residence is showing Eldorado, Iowa at the time of the marriage.   Vincent and Pearl had one child, Arlene C Kappes born about 1925.  The 1925 Iowa State Census finds them living next to or with Pearls parents, Ben and Bell French and family in Dover, Iowa. Sometime between 1925 and 1930 they relocated to South Dakota. Pearl is found in the 1930 census as a patient in the South Dakota State Sanatarium for Tuberculosis, where she died on 30 Sep 1930 and is buried in the Custer Cemetery, Custer, South Dakota. Vincent is found  as a roomer in the home of Lenora M Hand with 8 other roomers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was a salesman working at a store. His daughter Arlene, who is now five, is found living with Pearls mother and father  in Perkins County, South Dakota and is still with them in Custer, South Dakota, at 15 in the 1940 census. So it looks like Arleen’s grandparents raised her.

Sharon Kappes, Mark Doerr and LeRoy Doerr - Philomath, Oregon About 1947.
Sharon Kappes, Mark Doerr and LeRoy Doerr – Philomath, Oregon about 1947.

Vincent next married Margaret “Marge” Liebschwager in 1932. Marge was born 4 Aug 1915 in South Dakota.  Vince and Marge had five children: Yvonne Joy Kappes born 21 Aug 1933 in Faith, South Dakota; Joan Kappes born 23 Aug 1935 in Faith, South Dakota; Calvin Kappes born 6 Jul 1939 in Faith, South Dakota; David Kappes born 8 Sep 1940 in Corvallis, Oregon and Sharon Kappes born 17 Apr 1942 in Redwood City, California. Vincent and Marge moved to Philomath, Oregon where they are found in the 1940 Census. I recall my father talking about visiting them in Philomath and have a picture of Sharon Kappes, my brother Mark Doerr and my Uncle LeRoy Doerr about 1947 in Philomath. I am not sure why Sharon is showing as being born in Redwood City, California since most records show them still living in Philomath at the time, but they did move to Redwood City, California about 1957, so maybe Marge had family there (more Collateral Research here?).

Vincent died on March 13, 1967 at the age of 67. The Record of Funeral document listed a phone number for LeRoy Kappes (nephew at 142 Bosworth St., San Francisco). This was most likely my Uncle LeRoy Doerr, who would have been Vincents nephew and who lived with his parents (my grandparents) off and on at 142 Bosworth, St. San Francisco, California.  The document shows Vincents residence at 42 Fiesta St., Redwood, California for the last 10 years. I suspect that Uncle LeRoy assisted Marge in making the arrangements, since his number was listed. I believe my grandparents were close, so this makes sense. Vincent was a carpenter for 47 years. 

As a side note, it’s also interesting that one record shows his father (Frances Joseph) was born in Wisconsin and his record of funeral shows his father was born aboard ship, Atlantic Ocean. His fathers German birth record contradicts that, so maybe this is what his parents told him.  We do know they immigrated to America the same year Vincent was born.

Philomena “Minnie” Kappes was 2 when her mother died. She was born 30 Jan 1902 in St. Lucas, Iowa. The 1920 census shows her living with my grandparents, Ted and Anna (Kappes) Doerr in Wesley, Iowa. She is also listed as living with Carl and Ottie on the home farm, so this must have been a year of transition for her. In 1924 Minnie married Clarence Wyman Trudo. The 1925 Iowa State Census shows them living in West Union, Fayette County, Iowa. In 1930 they are living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. She is working as a waitress in a Restaurant and he is a packer in the Wholesale Meat Plant Industry. It is possible that Minnie and Clarence divorced about 1935. I have not been able to verify this, but we do find Clarence living alone in the 1940 census working as a Bartender in a Tavern (which matches the information in the John Carl Bodensteiner Family Book).  I have not yet been able to find Minnie in the 1940 Census.  She died 30 Jul 1977 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her Social Security Death record shows her as P. Trudo, so she kept the Trudo name and most likely did not remarry.  It also appears she stayed in the St. Paul, Minnesota area.

Gerhard Kappes born 23 Jul 1904 in St. Lucas, Iowa. He died 15 days later on 7 Aug 1904.  Mother, Mary, died on the day of his birth. 🙁

Follow Up

From this weeks research I have created the following “to-do” items:

  • Find marriage record for Frances Joseph Kappes and Katherine Ditzzenbach.
  • Find immigration and naturalization records for Frances Joseph Kappes and Katherine Ditzenbach.
  • Find immigration and naturalization records for John Carl and Maggie (Balk) Bodensteiner.
  • Find more information about the Fayette Couny Home for Paupers and Insane in Westfield, Iowa.
  • See if I can find out when Katie left the Fayette County Home and where she went from there?
  • See if I can find out how Bernard and Sophia Meinert are connected to Carl and Ottie Kappes.
  • Find Carl Kappes in 1940 Census.
  • Determine if/how Mathilda Leibold and Betha Leibold are connected.
  • Ask my brother if he remembers Kap and whether he was living at the San Francisco house when he died.
  • Did Marge (Liebschwager) Kappes have connections in Redwood City, California?
  • Find 1940  census record for Philomina or Minnie Trudo. Address in 1935 was 906 Beech, St. Paul, Minnosota.
  • Find marriage record for Joseph and Margaret (Sonnet) Kappes about 1891.
  • Find Death Record for Joseph Kappes.

1 German Genealogy German Emigration Records Website,, accessed 14 Feb 2016.

Pat Burns. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.